The pressure to be perfect is very real in our world. Themes of perfectionism can cross over into areas including, but not limited to, image management, job, performance, being the “perfect” spouse, parent, student, or friend. Perfectionism can touch any part of our lives. Below are a few key points to consider reading this blog:
- Perfection isn’t real. Of note, there is no such thing as a perfect life, or perfect human, or perfect job, or perfect friend. Busting that myth from the get-go is of upmost importance. This is so hard though, because of the lie we are sold on on a near-daily basis that perfection is real and attainable.
- Why do we try to be perfect? Because we believe that perfectionism will help us in some way shape or form. Because we have a lot of shame that we are trying to cover up. Because we believe that if we are perfect, we may not go through hard things. Because our families of origin gave us the message (either implicitly or explicitly) that we needed to be perfect to be loved. The list goes on and on, and is person-dependent. Narrowing down your “why” around why you are trying to be perfect can be a helpful starting place for why you are trying so hard to be perfect. Increased insight around this means increased likelihood of shifting the pressure you may feel to be perfect.
- How to help ourselves move through perfectionism
- Self-compassion statements. Self-compassion has been shown to decrease perfectionism. Jot down your self-compassion statements: “I’m doing the best I can, ” or “I did this (…) well,” or “I’m learning as I go.”
- Do things imperfectly. This practice allows for increased flexibility, room for error and permission to make mistakes and to learn and grow from them. Doing something imperfectly also shows us that we can survive and thrive through imperfection.
- Resist the urge to procrastinate. Perfectionism and procrastination are besties. You may have experienced the thought: “If I don’t do it perfectly, I shouldn’t do it at all.” The problem with this mentality is that it fosters erroneous thinking and prevents us from completing tasks, trying new things, being creative or taking a chance. Conversely, it may also lead to tasks taking longer than necessary to complete.
Your symptoms of perfectionism can improve; and, it takes true intention on behalf of the perfectionist. As always, I am rooting for you!
By: Laura Deneen, LPC-MHSP, CEDS, NCC
Anchored Counseling Company is a group practice specializing in the treatment of anxiety, depression, body image concerns, eating disorders & disordered eating, substance use, trauma and PTSD, and spirituality in Brentwood, Tennessee and serving the greater Nashville, Tennessee area. We are easily accessible for clients living in Franklin, Tennessee and Spring Hill, Tennessee.